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Zuckerman Spaeder LLP Secures Settlement with Arab Bank Following Precedent-Setting Victory in Terrorism Trial

August 19, 2015

Arab Bank has agreed to a settlement with a group of American victims of terrorist attacks and their families—many of whom are represented by Zuckerman Spaeder LLP. The settlement follows a precedent-setting courtroom victory in September 2014, when a Brooklyn jury found that Arab Bank was liable for knowingly supporting the terrorist organization Hamas. That win represented the first time a financial institution has been held civilly liable under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act.

The case began in 2004, when the group of victims and families brought a lawsuit against Arab Bank. Zuckerman Spaeder and other law firms representing the plaintiffs argued that the evidence proved that the Bank knowingly provided material support to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations that killed or injured the plaintiffs or members of their families.

The case against Arab Bank is part of an effort to target international terrorism by litigating civil lawsuits against financial institutions allegedly involved in funding Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. While the war on terror has largely been fought militarily and through criminal prosecutions, Zuckerman Spaeder’s cases against Arab Bank, Credit Lyonnais and National Westminster Bank mark the first time civil court cases have been used to punish terrorist acts.

Following the 2014 trial win, The New York Times reported, “The verdict is expected to have a strong impact on similar legal efforts to hold financial institutions responsible for wrongdoing by their clients, even if the institutions followed banking rules, and could be seen as a deterrent for banks that conduct business in violent areas.”

The settlement resolves the damages phase of the case, and details will be worked out over the coming weeks. Zuckerman Spaeder can offer no further comment on the case at this time.

Zuckerman Spaeder’s efforts in the case were led by New York partner Shawn Naunton and associates Maggie Lynaugh and Ramya Kasturi, and by former Washington partner Aitan Goelman, Washington partner Peter Kolker and associate Andrew Caridas.

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